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Screening MRI allows detection of more breast cancers in high-risk women
By Dross at 2007-08-01 08:25

OAK BROOK, Ill. – Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enables radiologists to accurately identify tumors missed by mammography and ultrasound, according to a multicenter study comparing the three screening methods in women at high-risk for breast cancer. The findings of the study appear in the August issue of the journal Radiology.

“Women at high risk for breast cancer can benefit from undergoing screening MRI,” said the study’s lead author, Constance Dobbins Lehman, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine and director of breast imaging at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. “Of all the breast imaging tools we have currently available, MRI is clearly the best at detecting cancer.”

read more | 1608 reads

Support groups don't extend survival of metastatic breast cancer patients, Stanford study finds
By Dross at 2007-07-23 22:50

TANFORD, Calif. - A new study from a team of Stanford University School of Medicine researchers led by David Spiegel, MD, shows that participating in support groups doesn't extend the lives of women with metastaticterm breast cancer. The results differ from oft-cited previous findings by Spiegel that showed group psychotherapy extended survival time.

The newest research did, however, confirm that support groups improved quality of life for the participants, and showed a survival benefit for a subgroup of patients with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

"We didn't confirm earlier observations that group psychotherapy extends overall survival for women with metastatic breast cancer, but we did again show a positive effect on mood and pain," said Spiegel, professor and associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. "I still very much believe this type of therapy is crucial to cancer care."

read more | 1 comment | 1122 reads

Exercise helps breast cancer survivors
By Dross at 2007-07-13 00:41

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A study of more than 500 breast cancer survivors shows that it’s never too late to reap the benefits of an exercise program.

            The study, published in a recent issue of the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, found that breast cancer survivors who pursued physical activity during and after treatment reported an improved quality of life, including less fatigue and pain.

            “We wanted to investigate why some breast cancer survivors come out of treatment just fine and go on about their lives, while others have problems with symptoms like fatigue and pain that limit their quality of life,” says first author Catherine M. Alfano, a researcher in the Cancer Control program at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We want to try to help those survivors improve their quality of life and lead healthy, productive lives.”

read more | 1030 reads

Stem cells used to build breast tissue after mastectomy
By Dross at 2007-07-12 19:33

Scientists in Japan claim to be able to increase the size of a woman's breasts using fat and stem cells. The technique uses fat from the stomach or thigh which is then enriched with stem cells before being injected. It is hoped the method could prove a more natural-looking alternative to artificial implants filled with salt water or silicone. But plastic surgeons working in Britain have greeted news of the technique with "extreme caution." Kotaro Yoshimura, a surgeon at the Tokyo University medical school, said more than 40 patients had been treated.


[via BBC NEWS | Health | Stem cells used to boost breasts]:

1982 reads

New adjuvant treatments for breast cancer prove cost-effective
By Dross at 2007-06-25 21:05

New adjuvant treatments for breast cancer are cost-effective at improving survival, according to two new studies. Published in the August 1, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the two studies looked at the cost-effectiveness of different drugs for the management of adjuvant therapies for early breast cancer. In a Canadian economic study of estrogen receptor positive breast cancers, switching from tamoxifen to the oral steroidal aromatase inhibitor exemestane (trade name: Aromasin) extended disease free survival at a minimal cost per person. In another of study of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer, the addition of the anti-HER2 receptor monoclonal antibodyterm, trastuzumab (trade name: Herceptin), is projected to improve life expectancy at a relatively low cost.

read more | 1 comment | 1736 reads

Penn: Office of University Communications: Fluorescence Diffuse Optical Tomography Provides High Contrast, 3-D Look at Breast Ca
By Dross at 2007-06-13 23:56

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have created the first three-dimensional optical images of human breast cancer in patients based on tissue fluorescence.

Fluorescence diffuse optical tomography, or FDOT, relies on the presence of fluorophore molecules in tissue that re-radiate fluorescent light after illumination by excitation light of a different color.  The reconstructed images demonstrated significant tumor contrast compared to typical endogenous optical contrast in breast.

Tumor-to-normal tissue contrast based on FDOT with the fluorophore Indocyanine Green, or ICG, was two-to-four-fold higher than contrast based on endogenous contrasts such as hemoglobin and scattering parameters obtained with traditional diffuse optical tomography, or DOT.

read more | 806 reads

Diet and exercise key to surviving breast cancer, regardless of obesity, new UCSD study says
By Dross at 2007-06-10 02:49

Breast cancer survivors who eat a healthy diet and exercise moderately can reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer by half, regardless of their weight, suggests a new longitudinal study from the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Previous studies have looked at the impact of diet or physical activity on breast cancer survival, with mixed results. This study, published in the June 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, is the first to look at a combination of both in breast cancer.

“We demonstrate in this study of breast cancer survivors that even if a woman is overweight, if she eats at least five servings of vegetables and fruits a day and walks briskly for 30 minutes, six days a week, her risk of death from her disease goes down by 50 percent,” said the paper’s first author, John Pierce, Ph.D., director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. “The key is that you must do both.”

read more | 941 reads

Herceptin does not increase heart failure in patients long-term
By Dross at 2007-06-04 00:56

CHICAGO, June 3 – Risk of congestive heart failure in women treated with trastuzumab (Herceptin) and combination chemotherapyterm for early-stage breast cancer did not increase over time according to a five-year follow-up of National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) trial B-31, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago. Based on the findings, the research team developed a prediction model to help oncologists assess the risk of heart failure in individual breast cancer patients prior to treatment with Herceptin and chemotherapy. Their findings will be announced at the Women’s Cancers press briefing at the meeting and published in Abstract LBA513 in the ASCO proceedings.

read more | 1525 reads

Intake of vitamin D and calcium associated with lower risk of breast cancer before menopause
By Dross at 2007-05-29 21:37

Women who consume higher amounts of calcium and vitamin D may have a lower risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer, according to a report in the May 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Data from animal studies have linked calcium and vitamin D to breast cancer prevention, according to background information in the article. However, epidemiologic studies on humans have been less conclusive.

Jennifer Lin, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues assessed 10,578 premenopausal and 20,909 postmenopausal women age 45 and older who were part of the Women's Health Study. At the beginning of the study (in 1993 or 1995), the women completed a questionnaire about their medical history and lifestyle, plus a food frequency questionnaire that detailed how often they consumed certain foods, beverages and supplements during the previous year. Every six months during the first year and then every year after that, participants returned follow-up questionnaires indicating whether they had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

read more | 945 reads

New Breast Cancer Susceptibility Gene?
By Dross at 2007-05-25 01:39

Researchers at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute of the University of Pennsylvania and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute describe in this week’s issue of Science a new candidate breast-cancer susceptibility gene. The Rap80 gene is required for the normal DNA-repair function of the well-known breast cancer gene BRCA1.

Cancer-causing mutations in the BRCA1 protein cause it to fail to bind to the Rap80 protein. Consequently, BRCA1 is unable to identify DNA damage sites in the genome. When BRCA1 fails to fix DNA damage, cancer-causing mutations accumulate, spawning the development of breast and ovarian malignancies.

read more | 4 comments | 756 reads

IMS updated recommendations on postmenopausal hormone therapy
By Dross at 2007-05-16 22:34

The past decade has seen marked fluctuations in opinions concerning the merits and risks of postmenopausal hormone therapy. In July 2002, menopause management faced a major turning point when the first data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trial were released. The study was categorized as a primary prevention trial for coronary heart disease, although the fact that mean age at recruitment was 63 years was not given enough importance at that time. WHI investigators concluded that hormone therapy (HT) was not cardioprotective, and, in fact, its risk–benefit ratio did not favor the use of postmenopausal hormones for prevention of chronic diseases. As a result, there was a dramatic change in prescription habits following recommendations to reserve HT for very symptomatic women, and to limit its use to the ‘shortest duration needed’ and ‘to the lowest effective dosage’. This was the atmosphere in which the International Menopause Society (IMS) initiated the IMS Workshop held in Vienna (December 2003) and the IMS Position Paper that was based on the Workshop discussions. Looking at global perspectives, and being independent of local or regional constraints imposed by official health authorities, this IMS Statement called for a more balanced approach in the interpretation of the scientific data on hormone use that were available in 2003. Since then, additional information has been accumulated from both arms of the WHI study, observational trials and from other studies, allowing a more comprehensive review on all issues related to the use of hormones in the postmenopausal period. In view of the above, the IMS Board decided that it is time to update the 2004 Statement and to enlarge its scope to menopause management and adult women’s health in general. More than 30 experts from the various fields of menopause medicine reviewed the latest information in a Workshop held in Budapest in February 2007.

read more | 1631 reads

Chemotherapy more effective when given before breast cancer surgery
By Dross at 2007-05-14 21:49

Giving chemotherapyterm to women with operable breast cancer before they have surgery —not after — helps physicians pin down the best treatment regimen and can reduce the extent of surgery, according to a new systematic review.

Preoperative chemotherapy reduced chemo-related infections by 4 percent and the need for mastectomies by 17 percent when compared to postoperative chemotherapy, found reviewers led by Sven Mieog, M.D., of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Mieog and colleagues looked at 14 studies that included 5,500 women with operable breast cancer. Half of the women received preoperative chemotherapy and the rest received chemotherapy after surgery.

read more | 1 comment | 1774 reads

Gene patenting -- steep cost for health care and patients
By Dross at 2007-05-08 22:26

The drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) is used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer (a type of breast cancer that overexpresses the HER2 gene and accounts for about 25% of all breast cancers). Trastuzumab therapy improves the chances of survival; however, it has deleterious side effectsterm and is expensive. Thus, it is important to accurately determine the patient’s HER2 status. The challenge is to develop a testing strategy that is both accurate and economical. A false-negative test result can mean a woman will not receive a life-prolonging drug, and a false-positive result can lead to unnecessary, expensive drug treatment.

read more | 1038 reads

Cryoablation is a safe procedure for breast cancer patients, early results indicate
By Dross at 2007-05-07 21:34

Ultrasound-guided cryoablation of small breast cancer may be a safe procedure associated with minimal morbidity and high patient satisfaction, according to a recent case report by radiologists at the University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics in Madison, WI.

The report presents a case of an 85-year-old woman with two small ( < 1 cm ) biopsy proven invasive ductal carcinomas that were treated with ultrasound-guided cryoablation alone (tissue destruction by controlled freezing and thawing). "The patient refused surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapyterm or chemoprevention therapy," says Gale A. Sisney, MD, lead author of the report. In all but one published case, cryoablation in breast cancer has been followed by surgery to remove the tumor. The patient had "an excellent cosmetic result, with no scar or volume reduction in her breast," said Dr. Sisney. She is also without known progressive disease at one year mammographic and ultrasound follow-up, Dr. Sisney added.

read more | 3 comments | 1654 reads

Decrease in breast cancer rates likely reflect HRT reduction and saturation of mammography
By Dross at 2007-05-04 22:11

A new study, published in the Online Open Access journal Breast Cancer Research, reveals two distinct patterns in the recent breast cancer rates in U.S. women: a downturn in the incidence rates in almost all age groups above 45 years beginning in 1998/1999, consistent with a levelling off of mammography utilization, and a sharp fall in the rates between 2002 and 2003 in the age groups 50-69 years, likely reflecting the early benefit of the reduced use of HRT.

Previous studies have suggested a link between HRT use and breast cancer. Ahmedin Jemal and colleagues at the American Cancer Society conducted statistical analysis to examine patterns in invasive and in situ breast cancer incidence in relation to age, tumour size at diagnosis and disease stage. Regular mammography screening starts at 40 and HRT is most common in women aged 50 or older, so the study focussed on women age 40 and above.

read more | 978 reads

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